When the Vive and the Oculus Rift came out in the spring of 2016, they did something incredible: they made VR actually worth caring about. Previously, the closest thing people had come to virtual reality were weird sci-fi movies or half-baked products like the Virtual Boy. Yet even now, nearly two years later to the day since the original Vive arrived, VR headsets still aren't a household commodity. While that might be a bit depressing for some of us, it's not really that surprising, because the release of those original head-mounted displays was only just the beginning of a much bigger three-step cycle.
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When the Oculus Rift and HTC Vive came out in 2016, we entered a new era of virtual reality. No longer would people think of half-assed fever dreams like Lawnmower Man, or ambitious but profound failures like Nintendo's Virtual Boy anytime VR gets mentioned. Even so, modern VR still hasn't caught on. It's awkward, it's expensive, and most of the games and apps still feel like tech demos. But earlier this week, a new piece of VR tech reminded me why the headsets are much more than gimmicks.